Whilst for the Americas and Western Europe ethical recruitment processes are common practice, the safety and treatment of migrant workers is becoming an urgent priority for British business leaders in the UAE.
As the UAE government cracks down on unethical recruitment and Modern Slavery climbs further up the global agenda – such that companies found guilty can be prosecuted at “home” as well as in the UAE – UK businesses discovered to be recruiting unethically in the UAE face multimillion pound fines, with business leaders risking prosecution back in the UK in addition to long-term brand damage.
The World Employment Confederation define ethical recruitment practices as complying with all relevant legislation covering their activities and business, with businesses respecting legislation covering health and safety, non-discrimination, worker’s rights, confidentiality, quality of service and fair competition.
Ethical recruitment involves ensuring that workers are provided with the accurate details of working conditions including pay and working hours, and means businesses must refrain from charging any fees or costs to workers for their services.
Whilst many companies are aware of and proactively investing into ethical recruitment, businesses and senior leaders new to the UAE or those who are now looking to take advantage of the previously untapped wealth of skills from Asia and Africa may be less familiar with the requirements, benefits, and potential risk factors of ethical recruitment legislation.
In addition to ensuring the best possible care of all workers, which has a proven impact on worker efficiency, quality and retention, businesses with unethical recruitment practices face £multi-million fines and possible prosecution under UK and US anti-slavery and US laws. Even if UK businesses take all precautions with their own processes, if any practices of any part of their supply chain are unethical, UK businesses in the UAE will also face financial penalties and prosecution.
With strict requirements and even stricter penalties, how can UK businesses and senior management in the UAE can insure their staff, protect themselves and their employees?
‘We have worked with multiple large companies in the UAE who have made their recruitment processes more ethical’, says Adrian Mansfield, Divisional Director at VHR. ‘The necessary actions are quite simple to implement but are not common to companies used to recruiting in the UK or from Western Europe, where ‘bounty’ payments have been outlawed for decades.
‘The first step in creating an ethical recruitment process is to look at your competitors and other UK businesses operating in the UAE and your specific sector, to identify the problems that they have encountered and how they have overcome them. By learning from industry leaders, businesses can operate open and transparent recruitment processes that benefit all workers and the business as a whole.’
Here are Adrian’s Top 10 Tips to work towards Ethical Recruitment: